While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, Dec 26

Britain's Queen Elizabeth leaves St Mary Magdalene's church after the Royal Family's Christmas Day service on the Sandringham estate in eastern England, Britain, on Dec 25, 2017.
Britain's Queen Elizabeth leaves St Mary Magdalene's church after the Royal Family's Christmas Day service on the Sandringham estate in eastern England, Britain, on Dec 25, 2017.PHOTO: REUTERS

Queen Elizabeth praises British spirit in Christmas address after attacks, fire

Britain's Queen Elizabeth praised the resilience of London and Manchester after "appalling attacks", in a Christmas message that also paid tribute to her husband, Prince Philip, who retired from regular royal duties this year.

The "powerful identities" of the capital and the northern English city had shone through after militant attacks as well as a devastating fire that destroyed the residential tower block Grenfell Tower in London, the Queen said.
 
The 91 year-old monarch, whose televised address is an essential part of a traditional Christmas in Britain, said it had been a privilege to visit victims of the bomb attack at a pop concert in Manchester, as she was able to witness the bravery and resilience of survivors first-hand.
 

"God bless you", Netanyahu tells Guatemalan president over Jerusalem embassy move

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu thanked Guatemala with a "God bless you" on Monday (Dec 25) for deciding to move its embassy to Jerusalem, while the Palestinians said the Central American country was "on the wrong side of history".
 
In an official Facebook post on Sunday, Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales said he had chosen to relocate the embassy from Tel Aviv - siding with the United States in a dispute over Jerusalem's status - after talking to Netanyahu.
 
US President Donald Trump recognised Jerusalem as the capital of Israel on Dec 6, reversing decades of US policy and upsetting the Arab world and Western allies.
 

Japan foreign minister lays wreath at Israel holocaust memorial

Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono on Monday (Dec 25) laid a wreath at Israel's Yad Vashem holocaust memorial in Jerusalem and called for stronger ties between the two countries.
 
He wrote in the memorial's guest book that he prayed "from the bottom of my heart that such a tragedy will never be repeated".
 
At a joint press conference with President Reuvin Rivlin, he said Japan "regards Israel as a country full of talent, not just a state of technology, but humanity, art and science".
 

22 injured in fireworks explosion at Cuban festival on Christmas Eve

A fireworks explosion seriously injured 22 people, including six children between ages 11 and 15, during a popular Cuban carnival on Christmas Eve, state-run media reported on Monday (Dec 25).
 
The centuries-old Parrandas festival in the central town of Remedios takes place every Dec 24 and draws thousands of Cubans and some tourists.
 
"An unfortunate accident with fireworks occurred last night in Remedios," the government's Cubadebate internet news service reported.
 

Football: Mutko suspends Russian football role to fight Olympic lifetime ban

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko, who has been hit with a lifetime ban from the Olympic Games over doping, on Monday (Dec 25) said he is suspending his role as president of the Russian Football Union while he contests the ban in the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
 
"I have decided to file the claim in the CAS tomorrow," he said.
 
"So that our organisations are not disturbed during the legal investigation... I have asked to suspend my duties for up to six months," Mutko told journalists after a meeting of the RFU executive committee.